Lost in Ubiquity: Kinect and the Aesthetics of Urban Public Spaces

Nagakura, Kunihiko [Browse]
Senior thesis
68 pages


Vertesi, Janet [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Computer Science [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
Ubiquitous computing is a recent trend in HCI research that calls for computing systems that recede into our physical environments, criticizing the current standard of designing personal computing devices and network access points. Based on alternative design principles and an interdisciplinary approach, we have developed a system for the Microsoft Kinect that adopts an architectural understanding of computationally representing space. Avoiding current trends of designing practical systems based on network connectivity, the presented system takes an aesthetic and experience based focus in its functionality. On the one hand, the system in this paper provide architects a design tool for integrating computing systems into physical and urban environments; on the other, the modules facilitate new aesthetic and social interactions between observers and the system. A proof of concept was deployed at the Princeton University School of Architecture building to evaluate the system. Over the course of 3 days, we found that the presented system induced embodied interactions and an aesthetic appeal to observers. Ultimately, this thesis envisions new norms for ubiquitous computing systems that address current criticisms of system design, aligning with Mark Weiser’s vision for the age of Ubiquitous Computing.

Supplementary Information